Arsenal will enter Matchday 21's final contest needing a full three points if they want to retain the table's top spot. With the teams chasing them continuing to show consistently good form, the Gunners have no margin for error.
That point was really driven home this past week. There were some big tests laid out in the fixtures for Week 21, and there were some impressive performances.
I'll highlight the three teams that have impressed me most. First, have a look at the table:
|14||West Bromwich Albion||21||4||8||9||21|
|17||West Ham United||21||4||11||6||18|
Everton entrenched themselves in fourth in the Premier League table with a dominant 2-0 win over Norwich City.
In that victory at Goodison Park, Everton controlled 62 percent of possession and fired off 23 shots to Norwich's 11. Gareth Barry led the way for an Everton side that was not at full strength:
In his first season at the helm in Everton, Roberto Martinez has his team playing sound and consistent soccer.
Will Everton finish in the top 4?
Still, it wasn't the performance in itself that impressed me the most this week. Everton was supposed to handle 15th-place Norwich at home. What is impressing me most with Everton is their consistent and sustainable success.
Everton have lost just two matches this year. No EPL team has lost fewer. The second loss came to Sunderland on Dec. 26 when goalkeeper Tim Howard picked up a red card. Since then, Everton have gone 2-1-0 in Premier League with the draw being an away effort against Stoke.
Everton didn't let the Sunderland loss rattle their confidence or derail them from their mission. This focus and consistency will continue to serve them well.
As things stand now, Manchester City are enjoying the top spot in the EPL table after sending Newcastle United to a 2-0 defeat at St. James' Park on Jan. 12.
The match was closer than that score suggested. Manchester City didn't add the second goal until well into extra time. In all, it was a solid showing against eighth-place Newcastle. What makes it really impressive, however, is that it came on the road.
The Citizens have been destroying teams at home this season, but on the road, they've suffered some letdowns. In fact, City is now just 5-2-4 as the away team in league action this campaign.
If the Citizens can maintain this kind of consistency on the road, they have the potential to run away with the league title. Although, the injury news on Samir Nasri looms large:
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has described Samir Nasri's injury as "very serious." http://t.co/DXtqGi8TzB— theScore (@theScore) January 12, 2014
Downtrodden Sunderland picked up a boost in their bid to not only avoid the cellar of the Premier League table, but the bottom three altogether.
Sunderland destroyed Fulham 4-1 in Fulham's house this week.
Although, embarrassing Fulham isn't all that hard of a task these days. Fulham has turned losing by multiple scores into an art form as the season has worn on.
After a 6-0 loss to Hull City, however, Fulham have gone 1-1-0. That had to have Fulham looking at a home game against bottom-dwelling Sunderland as a golden opportunity to build momentum. Instead, Sunderland announced they were the team on the rise.
All of a sudden, this team has gone 2-3-1 in their their last six Premier League matches and are moving up the table. Adam Johnson is a big reason why:
If Sunderland can keep up this pace, they should have little problem avoiding the bottom three.